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Friday, 19 March 2010
Ballantine's Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
Ballantine's Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen described the third round as “a very tough day” at the Ballantine's Championship as he was made to work hard to maintain a two shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard with one round to play.

The 35 year old carded a three over 75 in extremely blustery conditions on Jeju Island, but with exceptionally strong winds affecting all the golfers out on the par 72 Pinx Golf Club course that was enough to keep his overnight lead on a total of six under ahead of Spain's Pablo Martin.

An early start to avoid the gusts of up to 40mph forecast for the afternoon was made impossible by thick fog shrouding the course as the day got under way.

When the players finally took to the links over three hours later than the intended 7am start they were greeted by already blustery conditions, which eventually led to only one player in the 74 man field breaking par.

Derksen had at one point threatened to extend his lead over the chasing pack, as Thongchai Jaidee and Kang Wook-soon started to fall off the pace.

Making the turn at one over, he holed an eagle on the par five tenth to move to ten under, and despite losing a shot on the next hole a birdie at the 13th put him five shots clear.

But then a run of four consecutive bogeys on the final four holes dragged his score back to three over to make sure the lead will still be contested on the final day.

“I thought every par was actually great - to make a par on every hole was great,” he said.

“On ten I made eagle and then I think I three putted twice on the back nine. I'm still two in front, and of course I was a few more in front before that, but it's a very tough day.”

Meanwhile, Martin's round of 74 was enough to move him into second place and put him in a good position to fight for the win.

Should he claim victory here in Korea it would be his first win since he won the Estoril Open de Portugal in 2007 as an amateur.

“It was really difficult out there,” said Martin. “Really windy, but tried to make it fun, and a good round, so I’m happy. Happy with my round.

“You need to probably get everything out of your short game and make some putts, which is a little bit of guessing and luck. But you know, everything is going to be the same, so you just have to try to have the same attitude and fight it all the way until the end.”

Two shots behind Martin are the duo of Thongchai Jaidee (77) and Kang Wook-soon (77), along with Kang Kyung-nam (75) who held the lead briefly on the opening day following a round of 66 during the morning session.

Jaidee did briefly look like he would make a challenge when he hit consecutive birdies at the third and fourth and went into the seventh hole tied with Derksen on nine under.

A double bogey at that hole and bogeys on his next two before the turn effectively ended that challenge as, despite an eagle on the tenth, his final eight holes included two further double bogeys and three bogeys.

Frenchman Franḉois Delamontagne had the day's best round, becoming the only player to tally below par with a score of one under 71, and hoped his score would push him into contention for a top ten finish.

He is in a five way tie for sixth which includes three time Major winner Ernie Els.

The South African had looked like being able to move up on the leaders when he moved to four under after ten holes after starting from a position of two under this morning.

But his round began to turn from the 14th as he needed a shot more there, then ended the day with a pair of bogeys at the 17th and 18th for a round of one over 73, leaving him one under overall.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1FDEZ-CASTAÑO, GonzaloESP18-4
T1JAIDEE, ThongchaiTHA18-4
T1KANG, Sung-hoonKOR18-4
T4ELS, ErnieRSA18-2
T4DERKSEN, Robert-JanNED18-2
T4BENSON, SeveENG18-2
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